Kindness of Strangers

What are the things which come to your mind when you read the word LIFT?

Is it an elevator? But what if your favorite sport is golf? It would mean the act of placing the golf ball. How about you Google it?!

The definition I want you to look is in the noun section, right above the last meaning of lift, which is, a feeling of confidence or cheerfulness. Am I the only one who feels this definition should at least be in the top three definitions?

A free ride in another person’s vehicle. The kindness of strangers, that’s what I’m talking about.

While it’s true one shouldn’t eat food offered by strangers but if you are born in India and you travel in the train you have probably not followed that rule. I find it strange that we can’t trust each other, but I have also accepted the mad world. One has to think of their safety, but that doesn’t mean we have to isolate each other in public spaces. It’s called being street-smart, but I prefer calling it something to the effect of a-person-who-knows-how-to-trust-others.

We ask for direction without any hesitation, well at least some people do. The whole act of seeking help is seen with baggage I think people should look up the word seek just to be sure if the baggage is necessary. Did you know one entire gender is stereotyped for not asking directions?

I started taking lifts back in Delhi when I was 15, continued in Vadodara when I was 20 and now in Chennai at 24. Delhi is different from the other two cities. I realised in Vadodara when I was pulling my scooter till the petrol pump and out of nowhere two boys stopped by and told me to sit on my vehicle. They placed one of their legs on my scooter and I reached the nearest petrol pump in 2 minutes. What they did is called a kick and people kick you in Vadodara when you need it! So that nature of Vadodara and I wasn’t quite expecting this levels of warmth from Chennai, being a metro city but I was proved wrong. Chennai still has that metropolitan vibe which is very homely.

I am unbiased while seeking lifts because otherwise, it reduces the chances of getting a lift. I feel awkward when I think I should exclude someone just because they are of opposite gender. Sometimes you just need to wait and let others form an opinion on you. Sometimes? My bad. I take off my earphones while asking for a lift and most importantly never fake a smile.

I have noticed two-wheelers are more likely to stop by than cars. I wonder if wearing helmet for pillion was implemented  well would I still get lifts?

I have met some wonderful people and made some wonderful conversation on my free rides. Sometimes there is no conversation but the gratitude and kindness are always there.

Everyone is a lift. Even you are.
Everyone is a lift.
Even you are.

The process is  fascinating because the response to closed-ended thumbs-up sign for lift is often descriptive.

The following flow chart should give some sense as to how people can behave when you ask for a lift. One time I was told that I am young and shouldn’t ask for lifts, and another time I was told I am old enough to be self-sufficient. I couldn’t stop laughing after both the instances because instead of offering lift they choose to give a life lesson. But  the worst thing you can do is give a nasty look and drive past by because they could have just driven past by with the look but they couldn’t.

I think most people are unable to offer lifts because they are preoccupied with some other thought and I think that’s extremely risky as it takes your focus from driving. Driving safe implies paying close attention.

There is no better way to start you day than getting help from strangers and giving them best wishes but when I’m lucky I get to end my day in a similar fashion.

I would like to thank all the people who have stopped on the road to offer a lift and made someone’s day better.

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